Local Elections 2021: Cycling in Peterborough 'needs to be safer'

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media captionSoraya Royker said cycling on the roads "can be daunting"

Cycling has seen a boost in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic, which has also led to more people asking questions about how places such as Peterborough can be made safer. With plans for a new university in the city, how would the candidates for Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough cater for cyclists?

As a designated new town, Peterborough has a network of cycle paths, but people still have to pedal on roads some of the time.

Soraya Royker, who took up cycling in adulthood and is part of a Muslim women's cycling group, said some of the roads "can be daunting" due to the amount of other traffic.

"In most university towns, cycling for students plays such an important role for transport," she said.

"This is something that the people in power should have planned."

ARU Peterborough, the city's first university is due to open next year and by 2030 it is expected it will have 12,500 students.

Transport policy is one of the remits of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, and elections for its leader, the mayor, will take place on 6 May.

In alphabetical order, we asked the candidates for mayor to set out their plans for cycling.

Nik Johnson, Labour

image copyrightNik Johnson

"People are revaluating how they get to work and so I would absolutely want to keep people cycling and keep them safe. As a doctor I've seen far too many accidents with children falling off, it's dangerous if not managed in the right way," he said.

"We have to try to take traffic off the roads. One idea would be by encouraging people to use better buses.

"When it comes down to it, it's road design.

"I'm a doctor - I would be looking how to work with the county council in terms of road design and specific cycle lanes which are safe and which are encouraging people, because we want good air quality.

"I can see the argument for more electric bikes for hire."

James Palmer, Conservative

image copyrightTerry Harris

"There is already an electric bike scheme in Peterborough and Cambridge and we're bringing it into all the market towns that have railway stations, they're going to have electric bikes too and there's no reason they have to stop there," said Mr Palmer, who was elected as the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority's first mayor when it was created in 2017.

"When it comes to cycling we learnt quite a lot during lockdown about the implementation of new cycle lanes across the county.

"We were given money by the government to improve cycling opportunities and there is a massive fund of £2bn which we will be bidding into for more cycle routes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

"It is about road layout, it is about creating proper, safe cycle lanes, but also making sure people can move around the cities alongside those cycle lanes."

Aidan Van de Weyer, Liberal Democrat

image copyrightAidan Van de Weyer

"We need to be investing in better cycling infrastructure, making it feel much safer, so everyone can feel happy to cycle wherever possible," he said.

"Peterborough is a great example, because it has got some fantastic cycling lanes in different areas, but they're not joined up and in particular not joined up to the city centre, so that's where investment needs to be put.

"It will result in many more people cycling when you get a really good network and know you can get around easily and safely."

A modern browser with JavaScript and a stable internet connection is required to view this interactive. More information about these elections

Note: This lookup covers national elections in Scotland and Wales, the Hartlepool by-election, as well as council and mayoral elections in England and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections in England and Wales. There may be parish council elections or council by-elections where you are. Check your local council website for full details. Last updated: May 11, 2021, 12:35 GMT

A special programme featuring all three candidates - called A Mayor for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - will be broadcast at 14:20 BST on Sunday on BBC One in the East.

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